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This is a video about Gap Junctions in the Postnatal Cerebral Cortex

Gap Junctions in the Postnatal Cerebral Cortex

August 9, 2016
Presenters: Amanda Hampton
Length: 30 minutes 40 seconds

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<p>The focus of the project is to track the disappearance in the developing brain of a specific type of neural transmission through electrical synapses called gap junctions. These gap junctions are pathways between neurons made of proteins that allow electrical communication. Experimentalists have found evidence for the presence, and subsequent disappearance of these gap junctions during the first few postnatal weeks, ranging from 100% to 50% for inhibitory interneurons. Studies have also been done to determine the role of gap junction pruning in determining adult synaptic transmission.</p>

<p>This project will focus on modeling the effect of gap junction pruning on the network behavior in the developing cortex. Understanding how neurons interact in the cortex of a developing brain is important because the cortex is responsible for learning and cognitive thinking.</p>

<p>We use Hodgkin-Huxley differential equations to model the membrane potential of a neuron. The gap junctions are modeled by an additional term in the Hodgkin-Huxley equations that describes the exchange of voltage between electrically connected neurons. We form a realistic network by including 25% inhibitory and 75% excitatory neurons, as well as including synaptic transmission. Using data regarding neuronal firing rates and gap junction presence collected through the analysis of prior experiments, we form a network that has decreasing gap junction connectivity as the brain develops. We use this model to gain further insight on how decreasing gap junction connectivity affects network behavior.</p>